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How to Advocate for Acceleration at Your School

Acceleration How To Graphic

This week, #gtchat continued our series on acceleration and the new report A Nation Empowered with guest Dr. Ann Shoplik, administrator of The Acceleration Institute and co-editor of the report. Our topic of discussion was How to Advocate for Acceleration at Your School addressing both the needs of parents and teachers.

Ann Shoplik

Dr. Ann Shoplik

We first asked, “What factors should be considered when contemplating acceleration?” Dr. Shoplik suggested, “Academic achievement, ability, and aptitude; school and academic factors such as attendance, motivation, and attitude toward learning. Also, developmental factors such as physical size, small & large motor coordination as well as interpersonal skills, relationships with peers and teachers, outside-of-school activities. How important are athletics to student/family?” In addition, “Student and parent attitude toward acceleration; the school system’s attitude and support; plus planning for the future: what’s available?”

How do you begin to advocate for acceleration for a particular child? Any advocacy effort needs to begin with a good plan and fact-finding about available options. Lisa Van Gemert, Youth and Education Ambassador for Mensa, told us, “I like to start the conversation with teachers in this way, “We’re noticing this. What are you noticing?” Dr. Shoplik’s advice was to “begin at the source. Talk to teacher, gifted coordinator, and principal. Ask for help devising a challenging curriculum and program. Enlist the principal’s help. However, [remember that] many haven’t had opportunity to study acceleration in college.”

Carol Bainbridge, gifted expert at About.com, then asked, “What do you do when those beginning moves don’t work? I’ve had many parents ask that question.” Dr. Shoplik recommended, “Take a “We’re on the same team” approach. Focus on what’s best for child: Proper placement and challenge. Use available tools: Iowa Acceleration Scale, A Nation Empowered. Share research.”

Advocating as a parent often requires a different approach than that of a teacher considering accelerating their students. “Share research with other parents, start a parent group for gifted. Many voices saying the same thing is helpful! Support local teachers and gifted coordinators who are advocating for your child. Work with your state gifted organization.Making policy changes is a long slow process. Focus on your child and what is best for then,” said Dr. Shoplik. Also, it important to “know the lingo”. Educators respond better if you talk their language! Karen Ryan, gifted specialist, added, “Follow up with the plan and talk with your child to be sure their needs are being met; they are making progress towards their goals.”

Dr. Shoplik recommended, “Take a “We’re on the same team” approach. Focus on what’s best for child: Proper placement and challenge.

When advocating for policy change within a school district as a teacher, Dr. Shoplik explained, “Learn the facts. Study the research. Understand the available resources. Use local schools as examples as you advocate in your school. Combine forces, share information with other local districts. Connect with your state gifted organization. Know your state’s acceleration policy and work to improve it, if needed. Find an advocate in the system. Are nearby districts accelerating? School boards like to keep up with neighbors!” A full transcript can be found at Storify.

Nation Empowered Cover

For our friends following this chat:10% discount on A Nation Empowered Enter: Coupon Empower1516. Limited time!

 

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Advocacy – Working with Your Child’s School

Snappy Comebacks for Grade Accelerated Children

Parenting Tips on Educational Advocacy

Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds (Amazon)

Academic Advocacy for Gifted Children

Successful Advocacy for Gifted Students (pdf)

Advocating for Exceptionally Gifted Young People: A Guide Book (pdf)

How to Advocate for a Bright Kid in a State with No Gifted Funding

Iowa Acceleration Scale Manual 3rd Edition (Amazon)

Acceleration Institute: Question & Answer

Advocating for Your Gifted Child within the Public School System

Gifted by State

The Advantages of Acceleration

Acceleration for Students in 8th Grade and Younger

Acceleration Institute: Annotated Bibliography

Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy

Advocating for Gifted Programs in Your Local Schools

Radical Acceleration of Highly Gifted Children (pdf)

Acceleration Institute

Acceleration Institute: States’ Acceleration Policies

Cybraryman’s Gifted Advocacy Page

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

Hoagies Gifted: Academic Acceleration

What About Early Entrance to Kindergarten?

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad and PixabayCC0 Public Domain

Photos courtesy of Dr. Ann Shoplik.

How to Create a Gifted Individualized Education Plan

gtchat GIEP

 

Creating a Gifted Individualized Education Plan is hard work. It is a formal plan that delineates the accommodations a student will have in place for an academic year. Even if your locality does not recognize GIEPs or IEPs, they can be useful as a framework to advocate for a gifted student. GIEPs need to be prepared and submitted well in advance of the year in which they are expected to be implemented. They should be detailed and specific to ensure academic progress and talent development.

Gifted IEPs are a good idea for gifted students because a written and agreed to plan is easier to implement and monitor over the course of the school year. When written with specific goals and appropriate terminology, they have  a greater success rate than verbal agreements. Beyond academic objectives, Gifted IEPs can address a child’s social adjustment with peers and learning preferences.

Parents, gifted education teachers, regular education teachers, guidance counselors,  and school psychologists can all be involved in the GIEP process. The student should be consulted throughout the process as well. If the gifted student does not ‘buy in’ to the final agreement, the chances of success are slim. Often schools form multidisciplinary teams to review education plans.

What should be included in a GIEP? An excellent example can be found here. Assessment  and testing data will usually be presented in the GIEP. Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEP) provide a baseline to aid in showing annual growth of a student. Specific goals and expected outcomes related to the student’s strengths and interests; specifically designed instruction to be provided; and support services like transportation needs, teaching strategies, collaborative time for gifted and regular education teachers should be included. Areas of weakness (academic, social, emotional, motivational) to be remediated may also be considered.

Resources for completing a comprehensive Gifted Individualized Education Plan may be found in the links provided at the end of this post. A full transcript can be found on our Storify page.

Thanks to Leslie Graves, Jerry Blumengarten, Jen MerrillAmy Harrington, Jeremy Bond and Rhonda Boyer for additional links included below.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Sample GIEP from PA (pdf)

A Parents’ Guide to Gifted Education in PA (pdf)

How To/Resources for Writing a GIEP

Davidson Institute for Talent Development Database on GIEP Meetings

Kids’ Health Gifted Education: IEP – P. 2

Designing & Developing Programs for Gifted Students (Amazon)

Re-Forming Gifted Education: How Parents & Teachers Can Match the Program to the Child (Amazon)

Tier & Compacting: Differentiating Instruction for Gifted Learners (Slideshare)

The Care & Feeding of Gifted Children

Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEPs)

Developing an Educational Plan/Curriculum

Instructional Management/Individualization

Instructional Management/Acceleration Subject Acceleration

Instructional Managemnt/Acceleration Grade Acceleration

Instructional Management/Grouping

Gifted Journey: Individualized Education Plans

Cybraryman’s IEP Page

Cybraryman’s Individual Learning Program Page

Cybraryman’s Personalized Learning Page

Motivation, Engagement and Student Voice

IDEA Applies To ‘Twice Exceptional’ Students Too

Twice-Exceptional or Misdiagnosed?

Parent’s Unofficial Guide to Gifted IEPs and Gifted IEP Meetings

Berkeley Parents Network Advice about IEP and 504 Plans

Wrightslaw How Can I Fight for a Gifted Child?

Glenforest Secondary School IEP Gifted Plan

The IEP and the Gifted Learner

Blue Valley Schools Sample IEP File

Advocacy/Special Education: Getting What Your Child Needs from Schools

Tip Sheet for Developing the IEP for Gifted

Your Gifted IEP (YouTube 3:12)

 

GIEP Resources by State:

Arizona Department of Education Explains Non-use of IEP for Gifted

Connecticut The Student Success Plan

Kansas Gifted File Review Worksheet

Louisiana’s Educational Rights of Gifted/Talented Children in Public Schools

Louisiana’s IEP Handbook for Gifted/Talented Students (2002) (pdf)

Michigan Department of Education Talent Development (Local Initiatives)

Missouri Department of Education Gifted Education Programs Procedure Manual (No IEP)

New Jersey FAQs on Gifted Education

New Mexico IEP Requirements for Gifted – P. 71 (pdf)

Oklahoma Report on Gifted & Talented (pdf)

Pennsylvania Department of Education Gifted Education (Available GIEP – Online)

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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